Today is a Star Wars day in Phillie-land. There’s the light side and the dark side. Let’s start with the dark side, you Sith fucks, you.
Just a day after the news that Jimmy Rollins was signed to a minor league deal by the White Sox, we learned that Phillies (ACTUAL, FULL-TIME!) manager Pete Mackanininininininininin (I promise I won’t do that all season… maybe) will have the talk with Ryan Howard and inform the former slugger that he’s essentially a role player on a bad team. Jim Salisbury, please:
“We’re going to talk,” Mackanin said. “I think he knows (the subject of the conversation). He’s read and seen and heard what I’ve said. He knows that he’s got a challenge ahead of him and he has to compete for those extra at-bats against left-handers. I think he’s ready for it and I think he’s willing to show that he deserves to be in there every day.”
Howard will meet with the media today for what is likely to be his final spring training media sesh at Bright House Field.
Even worse for your memories, Cliff Lee’s career is likely over. The bow tie man himself, lollipop munchkin Ken Rosenthal represents the Clifton Guild:
Sounds like Cliff Lee’s career is over. His agent, Darek Braunecker, told me, “We don’t anticipate him playing at this point.”
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 23, 2016
A truly, truly swift ending to the careers of Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. In the span of just two short seasons, each went from the top of their games to retirement. Farewell, my steed.
Actually, there really isn’t one. I just liked my “Sith fucks” line so much that I crowbarred this section in here.
Full squad workouts begin today. So I guess that’s something. As you can see in the picture at the top of this post, big boy GM Matt Klentak addressed the team, which included Maikel Franco, who didn’t show up yesterday despite the optional reporting day being a sort of implied mandatory. Todd Zolecki writes this installment:
“I’m not going to be critical of anybody who doesn’t come early,” Mackanin said. “If we wanted guys to come two weeks ago, we should have a longer Spring Training. He’s in for a long season. He played winter ball. Whenever he gets here, as long as he’s here when he’s supposed to be, I’m fine with it. I’m not going to nitpick that. He’s not that kind of guy, but if he turns lazy and he doesn’t work like he always does, then I have an issue. But he’s going to work hard.”
Franco is within his rights not to arrive until Tuesday’s workout. In fact, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, players are not required to report to Spring Training more than 33 days before the start of the regular season. That would make the deadline March 1.
But Franco’s absence Monday raised eyebrows among some in the organization, because he is a young player entering his first full season in the big leagues and because the Phillies have such high hopes for him. No player in recent memory has waited until the morning of the team’s first full-squad workout to report to camp. Jimmy Rollins, Bobby Abreu and Ryan Howard were often the last players to arrive in camp, but always at least a day before the first workout.
Without being all hot take-y, this is a bad look. Franco is, for all intents and purposes, the cornerstone of the Phillies franchise (for now, at least). This is a vet move. It’s a Jimmy Rollins move. But as you read, not even J-Roll™ pushed the boundaries to their limit. There’s nothing positive to take from this. However, at the very least, Franco is now in camp and we can all be reminded of the fact that he can hit a baseball very hard and very far.
Finally, I’m willing to give the Phillies’ social media person a fresh start. They’re using Emojis now, so there’s some improvement already:
The Phanatic and the Galapagos Gang are up to something with @AaronNola10…🎷🎸🎬🎥 pic.twitter.com/DB0Oj0aygE
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) February 22, 2016